Kyle J. Steenblik

A Star Is Born Delivers the Goosebumps, and the Heartbreak [Review]

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A Star Is Born
Directed by Bradley Cooper
Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
Based on A Star Is Born by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Joint Effort, Gerber Pictures, Live Nation Entertainment
Release date October 5, 2018
Running time 135 minutes
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
4 1/2 stars out of 5

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) discovers—and falls in love with—struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer – until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

The third remake of A Star Is Born brings a classic Hollywood story back to the screen for a new generation.  This rendition captures all the energy and emotion of the past incarnations, but such that it is bound to resonate with a modern audience.  Bradly Cooper made some very bold choices with his directorial debut, with help in part from musician and actress Lady Gaga, who encouraged him to record all the singing live.  This not only gave an authentic voice to the film but served to impart genuine emotion into the songs.   The long and tight shots created a feeling of intimacy, in contrast, the many shots were withdrawn and slightly obscured creating a feeling of isolation.  The quickened pace of the narrative helped illustrate how it would feel to be caught up in this new life in the spotlight.  These decisions by Cooper felt deliberate and were highly effective, they were risky decisions because they could easily make a film unwatchable.

The performances of both Cooper and Gaga were startlingly earnest and moving, Gaga managed to incorporate some of the best aspects of both Streisand and Garland into her performance. The chemistry between these two dynamic actors plucked the heartstrings like a 1965 Rickenbacker 365.  The one aspect of this film a could take issue with is that at times it felt as though more attention was placed on the music, than on a richer character development.  While the characters were all well developed there were some initial assumptions that had to be made.  It was a risk taken by Cooper, that was almost completely successful, I should be impressed that it didn’t fail completely.  Instead, I am incredibly impressed with Bradly Cooper’s newfound directorial skills.

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